Eckert Seamans’ Dealership and Franchise Group attorneys have worked alongside manufacturers and distributors — from the largest companies with the most recognizable brand names to emerging companies striving to revolutionize their industry — to help them capitalize on opportunities and surmount complex issues using innovative legal thinking and strategies.
Eckert Seamans provides experienced representation to manufacturers that seek assistance in addressing their dealer network issues and related concerns. We counsel clients in both litigation and transactional matters, seeking to avoid disputes by anticipating and neutralizing issues before they surface. In situations where disputes cannot be avoided and early resolution is not possible, we provide aggressive representation before state and federal trial and appellate courts, state boards and commissions including appeals from administrative agency decisions, and arbitration panels across the nation.
The firm has successfully handled a wide variety of dealership and franchise related litigation, initiated either by our clients or by the dealers and franchisees. These matters include dealership and franchise terminations, ownership transfers, new dealership appointments, warranty reimbursement, franchise modification, fraud, price discrimination and allocation issues and brand withdrawal.
Our lawyers also advise clients on the creation of new dealer networks, as well as on nationwide dealership upgrade initiatives and offer a full range of litigation services. In addition, our lawyers have broad experience assisting manufacturers and distributors of automobile, motorcycle, marine and other recreational motor vehicles, including all segments of the automotive industry, from tire and engine makers and component suppliers to farm equipment and heavy and light-duty vehicle manufacturers, as well as manufacturers and dealers in the heavy equipment, food and automobile auction industries.
The firm also has extensive experience in advising franchisors in the negotiation and drafting of agency, distributor, manufacturer and franchise agreements, and providing advice with respect to trademarks, copyrights and related intellectual property matters.
Other services Eckert Seamans provides to franchise and manufacturing clients include disputes involving consumer complaints and product matters and the defense of consumer class action suits. We have secured rulings sustaining terminations based on our clients’ special business needs and objectives, defended manufactures and distributors against claims of wrongful rejection of proposed buy sell agreements, defended product cases including claims for bodily injury and wrongful death, and handled dealer disputes before the Pennsylvania Board of Vehicle Manufacturers, Dealers, and Salespersons, and before the American Arbitration Association.
In addition, the firm can provide lobbying and government affairs assistance within the often complicated legislative and administrative processes of local, state and federal government.
Finally, in the unfortunate event of bankruptcy, the firm’s nationally-recognized bankruptcy and restructuring attorneys have extensive experience in the representation of debtors, creditors’ committees, equity holder committees, trustees and creditors in troubled company turnarounds, loan workouts, collections and bankruptcy proceedings.
- Defended automobile manufacturers against claims under the Pennsylvania Board of Vehicles Act;
- Litigated automobile dealership termination matters before the Pennsylvania State Board of Vehicle, Manufacturers, Dealers and Salespersons;
- Negotiated commercial real estate transactions for automobile manufacturers;
- Negotiated the acquisition, financing and construction of automobile dealership showrooms and related facilities;
- Represented automobile manufacturers for claims arising out of dealer franchise terminations;
- Extensive experience drafting and negotiating manufacturer, agency and distributor agreements between franchisors and franchisees;
- Represented automobile manufacturer for breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation arising from franchisor’s right to reject dealership franchise application;
- Represented a variety of developers and hotel and restaurant owners in the negotiation and drafting of thousands of franchise agreements;
- Represented franchisors in lawsuits against franchisees for failure to pay fees and for trademark infringement and defended counterclaims by franchisees;
- Represented automobile manufacturer against claims brought by dealership under the Dealer Day In Court Act.
Thomas J. Sweeney
John E. Hall
Gregory H. Teufel
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